Matchbox Realty Website Launch

Matchbox Realty Website

Matchbox Realty Website

Here at Matchbox, we are proud to announce the launch of our newly designed website,   For months, Matchbox has worked with designer James Price and his associates to put together a site that delivers information to our residents and clients while providing a format that is new and innovative within the services industry landscape.

Please visit Matchbox Realty to see our new design and deliver any feedback you may have to our inbox at  Also, please continue to check Matchbox Downtown for all things Harrisonburg and Downtown!

A Foodie’s Guide to Harrisonburg


Local businesses throughout Harrisonburg have experienced tremendous growth and success throughout the past decade and no industry has reflected that growth quite like the restaurant industry.  Downtown Harrisonburg in particular has become a beacon for food lovers and restaurant owners by offering a wide variety of cuisines across 20 different restaurants, all within walking distance of one another.

In response to this growth and the demand to know more about Harrisonburg, the city has created as a way for people to learn more about the city and get excited about the Valley as a whole.  This video perfectly encapsulates the variety and breadth of Harrisonburg’s food scene and is highly recommended viewing for anyone looking to understand why people are so thrilled to be a part of Harrisonburg and downtown in particular.

The Official Visitor’s Guide to the city of Harrisonburg is now available!

Matchbox In Motion: Bella Luna Wood-Fired Pizza

An Interview with Wade Luhn, owner of Bella Luna Wood Fired Pizza

Wade Luhn, from Harrisonburg’s newest downtown restaurant Bella Luna, talks to Matchbox Downtown about the growth of Downtown Harrisonburg, the importance of local ingredients, and the art of making fantastic pizza.

Bella Luna is only a few days away from opening in the Livery Building (80 Water Street, Harrisonburg, VA).  Please continue to follow Matchbox Downtown for more updates.

JMU Men's Basketball

JMU Men’s Basketball Home Opener against Detroit

After a successful 2012 campaign, James Madison University’s men’s basketball team will host their home opener tonight at 7:00pm at the Convocation Center.  JMU (2-2) will host Detroit (1-2), a team that was recently beaten 101-55 by #19 UConn in an early season matchup.

This season’s opener will be a special moment as the Dukes plan to unveil both their CAA Championship and NCAA Tournament banners for the first time.  On top of that, the first 500 students to enter the stadium will receive a FREE t-shirt courtesy of the Athletic Department and the first 300 students will receive FREE food and snacks for the game.

For a full team schedule, please visit JMU Sports.

Go Dukes!

City Exchange Downtown Harrisonburg

City Exchange

The 1908 City Produce Exchange Building is one of the largest warehouse/industrial buildings in Harrisonburg, with over two acres under roof.

The City Produce Exchange (CPE), a product of the poultry trade, was formed by brothers Emanuel and Gabriel Blosser and partner Hershsey H. Weaver. The principals are thought to have acted as their own contractors in the construction of this poultry processing plant in 1908.  Harrisonburg’s agriculturally based economy developed in the years leading up to the Civil War and became well established following the extension of the Valley Railroad in 1874. Feed and seed merchants and wholesale grocers built many large brick warehouses that lined the railroad tracks in the Harrisonburg Downtown Historic District.

According to Emanuel Blosser’s daughter, her father claimed the plant was the largest poultry processor east of the Mississippi. In 1943, historian John W. Wayland states that the plant was “one of the largest of its kind in the United States.” A 1927 business directory claimed that Rockingham County was the second largest poultry producing area in the United States with a total value of poultry production in excess of $3 million per year and that the CPE was “the largest fattening and packing plant in the world.” The 1927 directory also noted that the plant could fatten 65,000 birds at one time. Wetsel Seed Company purchased the bulding in 1949 and used it to store orchard seed. According to Robert Wetsel, Emanuel Blosser closed his poultry plant in 1949 due to labor difficulties.

Matchbox and its partners purchased the City Exchange in 2005 and completed renovations just nine months later.  The new owners, Andrew Forward and Barry Kelley worked with Virginia’s Department of Historic Resources and Harrisonburg’s Downtown Historical Council to ensure the building was restore in a thoughtful and innovative manner.  To that end, a tremendous amount of materials used in the building’s renovation were reclaimed from the original site and refurbished to fit within modern loft apartment aesthetics.

The Flats at City Exchange currently enjoys 100% occupancy and features one of Harrisonburg’s most influential restaurants, Local Chop & Grill House.




For for more information please visit City Exchange Flats and Local Chop & Grill House

Artful Dodger Harrisonburg

Happy Feet Mondays @ Artful Dodger

Need to dance away your case of the Mondays?

The Artful Dodger in downtown Harrisonburg has a perfect solution.  The Dodger will host a FREE dance lesson this evening, beginning at 7:00pm.  The session will be led by local legend Reza Mina and will teach students the choreography behind Applause, Lady Gaga’s recent platinum hit.

You can find the Artful Dodger in the heart of downtown, here:

47 Court Square

Harrisonburg, VA 22801

EMU’s Annual Gala Concert this weekend!

One of the Valley’s most anticipated musical events will happen this weekend as Eastern Mennonite University performs its Annual Gala Concert on Saturday, November 16th beginning at 7:00pm.

The event features a wide variety of music performed by the University’s world renowned music department.  Joan Griffing, the music department chair of EMU, notes, ““There will be a wide range of musical styles and musical groups, an eclectic mix of music.  The concert will have something for everybody.”  The hits include everything from the Beatles to Beethoven.

In lieu of admission prices, the music department is accepting donations on behalf of the music scholarship fund with a suggested donation of $10.  For more information, please contact the Eastern Mennonite University music department at 540.432.4225.

Source: EMU News

Blue Ridge Architect's office. Harrisonburg, Va

Bruce St.

Bruce Street, formerly known as the Ewing building, is another Matchbox renovation property where we have taken a rundown, outdated building and installation and turned it into something downtown Harrisonburg can be proud of.

Matchbox purchased the properties and are currently in the process of renovating both buildings.  Blue Ridge Architects was the first of the new tenants to take occupancy and Matchbox provided a brand new installation to fit their needs:



Matchbox preserved the concrete floors, open ceilings, and large windows and created an open work environment where Blue Ridge could host clients and entertain on occassion.

However, Blue Ridge Architects only occupy half of 126 Bruce Street.   The other half will be a brand new restaurant, foodBARfood, which was created by Jeff Minnich (Clementine’s executive chef) and Amanda Cannon (bar designer/manager of Local Chop & Grill House).  The restaurant will serve global comfort food and provide a dynamic bar menu to cater to the after work crowd.  Expected opening date is early 2014.

Also, we are thrilled to announce that Approved Colleges, the online education portal, will be relocating from 111 East Market street to occupy the entire 128 Bruce Street building.  With just over 4,500 square feet, the facility will have a brand new installation including an open bullpen area for employees, perimeter offices and a large glass conference.  Occupancy for 128 Bruce Street is slated for January 2014.

These leases, as well as the renovation Bruce Street as a whole, will add even more value to downtown Harrisonburg and the people that live and work here.

Blue Ridge Architect's office. Harrisonburg, Va

Blue Ridge Architect’s office. Harrisonburg, Va

The Gospel of Craft

Hugo Kohl, an antique jewelry manufacturer in downtown Harrisonburg, has started a Kickstarter campaign to finance his new endeavor. Hugo wants to open a ‘living museum’ in the Ice House this coming year where he will use his collection of antique, hand-engraved hubs, dies, and rolls to design one of a kind pieces.

Hugo writes, ” I want to change the world by offering people the opportunity to have an intensive “making” experience in my factory that will inspire them to share The Gospel of Craft wherever they go.”

To learn more about Hugo Kohl and to donate, please visit:

The Gospel of Craft by Hugo Kohl

Cider Week Virginia

November 15 – 24, 2013


Cider Week Virginia

If there is one thing everyone can agree on, it’s that fall and cider go hand-in-hand.  To that end, Virginia Cider Week 2013 begins November 15th and will feature local ciders from across Virginia.  There will be several events held throughout the state, including a very special event here in Harrisonburg.

On Thursday, November 21st Local Grill & Chop House will feature a five course, gluton free dinner.  The tasty courses will include everything from cider braised pork belly to ‘bangers and mash’ all finished off with apple cider caramel ice cream and accompanied by local ciders introduced and described by cidermaker Shannon Showalter.


Local Chop & Grill House


56 West Gay Street, Harrisonburg, VA (located on the ground floor of City Exchange flats)

Downtown Harrisonburg: New Restaurant Preview 2014

We wanted to take a moment to acknowledge two new restaurants going into downtown Harrisonburg that we at Matchbox are very proud to announce:

foodBARfood (126 West Bruce Street, Harrisonburg, VA)


Bella Luna Pizza (80 West Water Street, Harrisonburg, VA)

foodBARfood will bring together two of Harrisonburg’s finest restaurant minds, Jeff Minnich of Clementine’s and Amanda Cannon of Local Chop & Grill House, to form a new innovative restaurant and bar in the newly renovated Ewing building. The focus of the restaurant will be on global comfort food and a stellar drink menu to offer diners a truly unique downtown experience.

Bella Luna Pizza is opening downtown this winter and will offer Harrisonburg’s only wood-fired pizza. Bella Luna’s new space will be a brand new build-out featuring over 60 dining seats and will also feature a large private dining area that can be reserved for parties. Bella Luna will be housed within the newly renovated Livery Building which will also feature a new Shabby Love furniture showroom.

126 West Bruce Street, Harrisonburg, VA


84 West Water Street, Harrisonburg, VA


Ice House Harrisonburg

Ice House

The Ice House is a downtown redevelopment site that is located on Liberty St across from the Farmers Market.

The Cassco Ice House complex is a landmark in downtown Harrisonburg.  Built in 1934, it has been a focal point of Harrisonburg’s urban core for over 75 years.  The building is located at 125 West Bruce Street and 217 South Liberty Street and sits on slightly over 2 acres in area. The site has excellent downtown connectivity – it is approximately two blocks south west of the Harrisonburg central business district and City Hall, and less than 2 blocks north of James Madison University’s (JMU) expanding campus. The site is adjacent to multiple bus and bicycle routes (existing and planned), numerous cultural venues and historic structures, the regional Farmers Market and significant off-site parking resources.

The redevelopment of the former Cassco Ice House will build upon on-going revitalization efforts as well as spur the potential for additional historic renovation projects in the City’s core. The central element of the redevelopment of this property is the inclusion of well established, locally owned and operated businesses expanding their operations into the newly renovated Ice House.

Strengthened by expanding micro-manufacturing businesses and offices, the Ice House will also feature the creation of 75 apartments. The Cassco complex is identified as a “contributing property” by the Virginia Department of Historic Resources in the determination of the Harrisonburg Downtown Historic District.
City staff believes the development of the Ice House bears the greatest potential to expand the City’s revitalization efforts and spur economic growth.  The City of Harrisonburg encourages revitalization and developments
such as the Ice House by committing resources, staff time, and tax abatements. The Ice House represents the quintessential redevelopment and reuse of a property the City wants to encourage.

The City supported the application and utilization of IRF funds for the Ice Factory because of the potential
economic development driver it represents. The owners and developers of the former Cassco property
have led the way in downtown revitalization by creating opportunities for downtown living in previous
successful projects that include the City Exchange and Urban Exchange. Both of these previous
projects included mixed-use residential, retail and restaurant spaces and represent an evolution of the historic downtown as a place to work, eat, shop and recreate.

The Ice House as of Spring 2013:



For continued coverage of the Ice House project, please follow us at Matchbox Downtown